Until yesterday Florida's governor has been getting a lot of criticism for not establishing a "shelter in place" order for the entire state. Republican governors are struggling with balancing their desire to keep businesses functional and containing the virus. Disney laid off 77,000 employees this week. Initially, the governor let local municipalities decide, but people travel back and forth between those places carrying the COVID-19 with them. There appears to be a lot of pressure here from church folk who want to hold services where people can physically come together. In some counties this has been allowed; in others forbidden. In my opinion church can easily be broadcast and viewed safely at home. We are in Brevard County and when the order was finally made state-wide, we found it made little difference for us. Everything was already closed except for grocery stores, hardware stores, medical facilities, gas stations. Restaurants were allowed to prepare take-out orders only. Now that the spring breakers are gone, it makes no sense to me to close the huge beaches around here. With the state-wide order, now they are all closed as well. They are a place to get exercise and fresh air, but we can do that here in the bubble where we live.
We spend nearly all our time in that bubble. Whenever we go out to get groceries, the stores are lightly populated and fairly well stocked. We haven't seen Purell or wipes since this all started, but living in isolation we have not felt the need for more cleaning products than we already have. For variety we ventured a little farther afield to Sam's where the photos above were taken. Looking at the #10 size cans of boiled peanuts made me feel a bit nauseous. Why ruin a delicious peanut by turning it into a soggy lump? After weeks insisting that we should not wear masks, that suddenly has changed. While I do have a sewing machine in the motor home, I have no fabric or materials to make the ties. We do have two medical masks, procured years ago that have become part of our first aid kit. Over many years I have had two asthmatic reactions: thus the masks. One in our collection says N95. Will someone yell at us if we do not wear masks at the grocery store? Will someone yell at us if we wear an old N95? Nerves are frayed.
It's surprising that we still have a bit of social life. Last night we had dinner at the picnic table of our next door neighbor. He is a recent widower, whose plan for the winter was a jam packed schedule of visits from his five children and their families up north. Two sets of families made it here before things shut down. He is 89 years old and I envy him his physical mobility. He's also sharp as a tack and has been working on coding a program in FORTRAN that will assist inspectors at atomic facilities. Radioactive materials give off alpha, beta and gamma rays and he wrote his first program to detect one of these before he retired. I'm sure my explanation is incomplete. Needless to say we're impressed. We shared a meal Ken picked up from curbside service at the nearby Cracker Barrel, a restaurant where we never eat under normal circumstances. I am accustomed to preparing most of our meals even in our pre-virus life, but it's nice to have a break occasionally.
Friends who live here are still here, although they all had planned to be further north in their RV's by now. One of them is in charge of the RV caravan we plan to join, which will travel into Canada the beginning of July. He keeps getting questions about whether he will cancel it, but we agree with him that it is too soon to decide. We will lose some of the deposits on campgrounds and activities that he has already made, but that's water under the bridge. When we are out on our daily bike ride, we drop in on someone and sit widely spaced in their back yards. A bit of socializing lifts the spirits.
Nature tours either by bike or by car, have gotten less interesting. Many of the birds we have enjoyed watching seem to be gone. Probably many of them have begun the trip north; we'll join them in a few weeks. New campers are banned from arriving in our campground along with any sort of vacation rentals. The governor is afraid of new arrivals from the N.Y./NJ hotspots as well as tourists in the panhandle from New Orleans, which was similarly afflicted by Mardi Gras. I suppose when we travel north we could also become unwelcome. It’s nice to know that we can ways stop for the night in a parking lot somewhere.